One of the things I’m noticing about global warming: there’s much contemporary debate about the validity of the science, but not so much on what to do about global warming. We’re stuck, really, in a place of endless ideological squabbling, and we never get to any serious policy discussion.
From what I’ve seen, many people expect that global warming policy will come from climate scientists. The problem with that: there’s no reason to suppose that climate scientists are skilled (or skilled enough) at policy-making and institutional change. It’s not their field. We need a whole different stable of experts–and make no mistake: policy development is a matter for experts. We need the best policy wonks we can find.
I have been thinking for a while now: I want to hear about climate change from economists. An economics prof once taught me: economics is the science of choice. If it’s true that we must vastly reduce CO2 emissions, then policy must somehow mobilize the necessary choices, and on a massive scale. Could an economist help us understand how to bring that about?
Here is Paul Krugman, making an economist’s argument for a carbon tax as the most straightforward and efficient way of reducing carbon emissions. The argument is simple: attach a cost to the emission of CO2, and people will emit less CO2. Tax pollution, and you will get less of it.
From the opinion pages of the New York Times: